Baby name news: Soccer Stars and Great Danes

Ida, Ivy and Istanbul

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes a girl junior, a boy named after a comic-book villain, and international names from France, Denmark and beyond.

Nefarious Negan

Lots of parents use baby names from TV shows (oh hi, Khaleesi), but this dad from Michigan may be the first to name his son Negan – as in The Walking Dead.

In a show where many of the characters’ names are familiar and somewhat dated (Rick, Shane, Lori, Carol), Negan stands out. But not necessarily in a good way. He’s a pretty nasty character with a pretty nasty baseball bat.

The comic’s creator, Robert Kirkman, has said he picked the name Negan because it sounded negative. There’s no denying it also sounds namelike: it’s only one letter away from Megan and Regan, and you’ll find it at the end of Finnegan.

Dad wants to make it clear that little Negan is named after the character in the comic book, not the TV show it inspired. If you’re familiar with the comic, tell us: does that make the association any better?

Girl juniors and French scholars

Do you know any female juniors? Depending on your background, a daughter with the same name as her mother may be less familiar than a son with the same name as his father. But there are some out there, like Claudette Sandecki and her oldest daughter, Claudette.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to share a name with your daughter (or mom), Claudette’s article tells of a lifetime of mistaken identity, administrative errors and getting called “Big Claudette” or “Old Claudette”. Her conclusion? Unless there’s a large inheritance hanging on passing down the name, it’s not worth the hassle. And yet, you get the sense that she’s proud of the name.

While we’re on those elegant “ette” names: if your name is Juliette, you’re more likely to do well in school tests. That’s according to statistician Baptiste Coulmont, who has done his annual analysis of the names of French schoolchildren taking the Baccalauréat.

20% of girls named Juliette got the top grade – exactly the same as in 2017 – as opposed to just 5% of girls named Océane. Other high scorers included Garance, Adèle and Héloïse, and on the boys’ side, Martin, Félix and Grégoire. Check out the full infographic for a whole lot more French namespiration.

From Denmark to Chicago: Ida and Ivy

From the land that brought us Lego and hygge, the most popular names in Denmark of 2017 have been released. William tops the charts for the boys, but the girls’ number 1 is the less familiar Ida. If you love names like Ada and Ivy but want something less popular, it’s one to consider. Other names Danish parents are loving include Freja, Alma, Karla, Emil, Magnus and Valdemar.

Speaking of Ivy, that’s the name Chicago Cubs baseball player Dexter Fowler gave to his daughter. Did you see the rumor that it was inspired by the ivy vines that cover the walls of the Cubs’ home, Wrigley Field? Even if it wasn’t deliberate, it’s a cute connection.

Soccer star names: say and spell them right

World Cup fever is going strong as the final draws near. For name lovers, the men’s soccer tournament has meant the chance to check out names from all over the world – and to cheer for name diversity.

This year, the Mexican team had accents in the names printed on their shirts for the first time. And Australian TV presenters have been explaining why they go the extra mile to pronounce every player’s name correctly. It’s what we already know: spelling and pronunciation matter.

Elsewhere in the world, parents have been using some unusual place names. In Somalia, there’s been a wave of girls named Istanbul, in gratitude for the aid Turkey is giving. In Dubai, migrant parents have called their daughter Emarat (meaning “emirates”, as in the United Arab Emirates), in honor of their new country. It’s not a million miles away from names that are popular with English speakers, like Top 1000 debut Emerald.

Brian: a superstar – macho, dynamic”

Names go in and out of style, but one thing doesn’t change: they always have images attached to them, rightly or wrongly. Today there are name memes, and in 1986 there were the stereotypes in this book, which is doing the rounds on the internet.

If you’re a James or an Eric, you can relax: you’re a “big winner”. Jessica is ambitious and beautiful, Brian is a superstar, April is spritely, but poor Nicole is “average on all counts”. And let’s not even go into the names that fare less well! Of course, these stereotypes say more about the people who made the list than about people with those names. But it’s food for thought: how will the name images we have today stand up in 30 years’ time?

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